Randall Martoccia: Adjunct professors losing benefits

October 26, 2013 

Several colleagues at a state university are at risk of losing a class next semester to release the state from its obligation of providing insurance. The removal of a class also would constitute a 25 percent pay cut.

Adjunct faculty members are already an exploited group, with wages tens of thousands of dollars less than that of tenured and tenured-to-be faculty. At community colleges, the wages are more absurdly low. Adjunct faculty pay at a community college is nearly a third of the university’s measly adjunct faculty per class pay ($1,500 vs. $4,000 per class).

The old argument is that adjuncts are less qualified and inferior and deserve lower wages. A recent study, summarized in the Wall Street Journal, throws a whole lot of doubt on that. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that students taught by adjunct faculty received better grades than those taught by tenured or tenured-track faculty in classes in the same area. “The results were more pronounced among relatively less-qualified students.”

Our country and state are full of less-qualified students. The College Board estimated that less than half of those taking the SAT were prepared for college-level work. The state, then, rewards those who are best able to help these unprepared students by paying paltry wages and by considering cutting classes and denying benefits.

Randall Martoccia

Winterville

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